Rushing. Too busy. No time to stop. Sound familiar? It seems like we are always busy, always rushing on to the next thing with barely a backward glance at the last project, last creation, last mistake, last achievement. Yet we all know that we learn the most from failure, not just from experiencing a failure but in ‘learning’ from our mistakes, thinking about why it went wrong and importantly how we could do better next time.
Sadly in all our rushing to the next thing there’s rarely time to think about what happened and of course its painful to dwell on it, its much easier to ‘move on’ and push it from our thoughts, forget about it altogether.
Failures are one thing, but what about our successes? How often do we stop and take the time to think about them and to ask ourselves why it was a success? Do we ever take the time to think about what it was we did well and how we can make it happen again?
It’s also important to take the time to feel gratitude for all the blessings the year has given us before rushing on to the next one.
Every year around this time, I get excited and start making plans for the year ahead. Yet I rarely stop and take time to think about closing out the year before. In my eagerness to make a new start I completely skip the part where you look back at the year behind and reflect on what could have been better and acknowledge all the blessings and achievements the current year has given.
But not this year. This year I’ve made the time to stop, to be still and to take a moment to look back at the year that was, who I met, what I learned, what I achieved, what I failed at and how I grew as a person in that time. it was profound. Things I’d completely forgotten about came rushing back to me. Happy memories, new friends, amazing things that had happened and the beautiful warm feelings that went with them.
I realised this was an important process for all of us so I’ve put together a workbook that you can download and print with a suggested process to follow including some guiding questions and instructions for how to put together a ‘reflection’ board. Its kind of the reverse of a vision board, where you look back at the year and document the highlights of where you’ve been, everything you’ve learnt, what you’ve achieved and what you’re most proud of.
Ideally you’d do this on New Year’s Eve or anytime in December or January but these questions can be used any time really, and would be a great exercise for the end of each quarter too.
I recommend finding a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted for a half an hour or so. It’s best to be relaxed for this activity so find a quiet spot near a window or outside, play some music, burn a candle, make a cup of tea or if you can, take yourself out to a cafe or the beach to set the mood.
I really loved making the time to do this reflecting this year and I hope you do too, I’d love to hear how you found the experience and what you uncovered in the comments below.